Jami Gaither

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since Jan 05, 2014
North-Central Minnesota
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Recent posts by Jami Gaither

Pretty awesome to watch some new-to-rocket-stove-building folks building a Rocket Stove by reading this book while Ernie Wisner watched over them.  One of my favorite memories from the Rocket Mass Heater Innovator's Jamboree. <3
4 months ago

Yolande Brown-Conran wrote:Jami wow such an encouraging story thanks for sharing.  ... I just joined a Beekeeping association to learn more and some of the mature beekeepers lost colonies this year. They are having a tough go at it with the mites and pesticides and other diseases and predators. The wasps were really bad here this year. Get another colony and try again :)

Thanks for your encouragement.  I didn't mention it but wasps are what really got my hive in the end.  They'd lost their queen and were took weak to fight them off but wow, the wasps were numerous!  Hope we have a better year in 2018.

4 months ago
Welcome, Yolande!  How exciting to read about your adventures.  I love your scientific approach and really recommend staying with the video blog as we have used it and it's nice to go back and see what you really did vs. what you remember doing...

Your land sounds kind of like ours.  We have 20 acres in Northern Minnesota, half wetlands.  When people ask what lake we live on, we tell them we live on a swamp.  We have taken 10 years to build our project, as we could afford it, and six months ago, my husband finally left the rat race and we're building our Permaculture homestead full-force now.  It's taken a lot of planning, earning the money to get to this place, research on how to do things, and just doing it and seeing how it comes out in the end.  We make mistakes and we have successes.  We're learning and teaching others.  We are happier than we've ever been.

We also were city folk - well, suburbs anyway.  I worried how I would transition to the rural way of life but it's been so wonderful.  I'm loving digging in the dirt to build huglebeds, using our composting toilet (bucket system), learning to can food, using our Rocket Mass Heater, and even peeing outside.  The rural folks in our area have been so lovely and welcoming (many of them are transplants to the area too) and we've hooked up with some local farm folks which makes for good eating while we get our own food systems in place - a struggle for me!  Oh, I also kept bees this year and the recommendations people have on learning and researching a lot before your start is good.  I recommend finding some local beekeepers and having them show you their operations.  I had a good/bad year with the bees, lost both colonies (for different reasons), but had a good honey harvest really at 60#.  It's a bittersweet adventure for me but I hope to try again next year.

I wish you all the best as you work on your dreams and plans.  It's an exciting thing.  And I recommend putting on paper what you dream to come true.  I believe part of our success was having pictures in front of us of what we hoped for our future.  Now it's come true... so we need to develop more picture pages to keep dreaming.  My husband says, "If you plan, you can.  If you don't, you won't."  We had a lot of people call us "crazy" but they see now how we've made it all happen and many now say, "You two are on the right track."  It's not everyone's dream, but it's definitely working out for us.

Best to you as you make your way!

5 months ago
So AWESOME Cool to see these photos after being there for much of the event.  Can't wait to see more talk and video about how it all went once you're finished.
5 months ago

John Weiland wrote: I would be curious about that for the state of Minnesota.

We live in Minnesota and have found it to be very friendly as we've converted from the Rat Race (earning a 6-figure income) to basically earning nothing.  Due to our current income being under $21,599 (MN MA) for the year (my husband worked the first quarter and I have a small income for a very part-time gig), we qualify for Medical Assistance (MA).  Free health care coverage.  I was astonished when I found this out as we'd planned to simply not have health care coverage - and with our income so low, we would not have to pay a penalty federally.

I really didn't plan to use the MA except for an annual Rx renewal (of a thyroid medication I got stuck on years ago) and if we had an emergency.  I was surprised to find when I went to fill my Rx (a 90-day version) that they ran it through insurance (even though I hadn't provided a card or information - how do they know these things!?!) and I could only get a 30-day supply.  The cost was $1 vs. the normal $10 but I was like, "Crap! Now I have to go to town three times instead of once!"  Since town is a 50-mile round trip, that's not a real cost save for me.  I am wondering if I can tell them to NOT run it through insurance next time... but now I'm down to a 60-day supply on the refills so...

Recently my dentist emailed to let me know I'm due for a cleaning (also a long trip away, but in Mom's town so I can plan a visit to her with a dental check-up).  I wasn't planning on having any dental coverage but when I emailed, they informed me that the doctor will accept MA for existing clients and my current county allows treatment in that county.  It apparently covers two cleanings (though only one full exam) and one emergency treatment annually. This was REALLY good news. 

We worked for years so we could have savings on which we could live as we moved to the Permaculture Homestead life.  We still don't know what kind of income we'll have though we hope to work a lot with barter and trade in addition to growing/securing food.  The local community is highly supportive of this kind of living and I'm loving this aspect of rural Minnesota.  We have assets but almost no income which sometimes makes me feel guilty for having MA.  But I also know I do some work for the local community (Tyler mentioned this being an asset similar to tax-paying) and we continue to pay taxes for vehicle tags, purchases, etc.  And I've paid lots of taxes through the years!

I don't know if we will regret this path financially - we're just getting going in this "live on nothing" "retirement" where we still have enough to survive and are working harder physically than ever - but I do know that we're happier than ever and I encourage people ALL THE TIME to get out of the rat race if they can, especially if they can save enough to support themselves for some time as they develop a new way of life.  I certainly do NOT miss the Rat Race and being a slave to the clock for a company.  I enjoy being able to do pretty much what I want any given day... owning my time.  I enjoy the work of growing food and gathering wood for heat and trying to keep bees happy. 

I think the health care situation in the US is really a mess and I am hopeful they will soon realize the only moral and possible answer is a single-payer system.  It's criminal that wealthy congressmen with great coverage can deny others health care which should be a right, not a privilege.  For now, I'm quite grateful that we decided to relocate to Minnesota.  It's been a good decision on this front... one we hadn't truly realized when we made the decision 10 years ago.

7 months ago

paul wheaton wrote:I think the really sad part here is the demonstration of how permaculture will only allow the people with really thick skin to be in a leadership role.   I've been told that I am now a global leader and that is seriously fucked up.   There should be a hundred people far better than me, and far more pleasant.  Willie Smits is quite pleasant - maybe we need a hundred more of him.
At the same time, Sepp Holzer's model is what we turn to for cold climates.  Sepp is famous for being harsh.  And in podcast 111 I explore the idea that we, sepp's audience, are so incredibly mean to him that we make him that way, OR the same audience was so incredibly mean to all aspiring leaders, and 99% of them decided to go quiet rather than continue to go through the gauntlet of nasty.

This is sad.  I have kind of thin skin at times but even more of a unwillingness the older I get to just deal with PEOPLE so have limited ideas on how much I want to lead and how much I just want to show people how I live instead and let them take what they like.

On the issue of Paul being avoided, I will wait until October when we visit Wheaton Labs to make a final decision.  From what I have gleaned thus far, I believe he and I are quite alike.  I'm loud, opinionated, knowledgeable, helpful, and often jump into a leadership role.  Some people get pissed at me jumping in and taking charge or mad that I voice my opinion.  But there are many who appreciate the way I get things done and the way I share what I know and by how hard I work.  Lucky for me, most people look past my loud, brash, pushy times because they see how big my heart is and how much I truly want to help make things better, work hard, and love those around me.

I have learned in my years to be more of a listener though it can still be a struggle at times.  I have learned to not be boisterous, especially when I'm just trying to be funny... though I often still blurt out the off-color comment that even I realize in the moment, went a bit too far.  I have found my life to be pretty darn successful and I can look back mostly with pride.

I don't know if Paul and I will be so much alike that we clash, but I'm sure looking forward to giving him a chance.  It is discouraging that the Fouches felt a need to bias people against Paul/WL with such a limited experience.  I have to admit this sets me on edge.  I wonder if I need to really clarify with Jocelyn about our living arrangements in detail for the October workshops.  I don't expect problems as I've heard from so many about how much love there is for Paul and Wheaton Labs.  Yes, I've also heard, mostly from Paul, how many people think he's an asshole (which lends him a lot of integrity and integrity takes people a long way in my book, even the assholes).  But I also comprehend that clear expectations are the best method for assuring no hurt feelings. 

I too have the tendency, like Paul seems to have found with Esther, of putting comments out there expressing my expectations and finding people don't always have the confidence/integrity/assertiveness to reply back when they are not in line with what I'm putting out.  I am often one to clarify if someone asserts something or comments about something that isn't clear to me or in line with my expectations so I can be sure of what we have going.  But then, I'm a confident leader type...  And typically, I don't have issue setting things up because I'm wordy as hell and usually people are like, "Yeah, yeah, we're good already!"

And I'm betting me and Esther's Mom would likely find synergy too.   My assessment, for what it's worth, is that Paul triggered Ester (being just like her mom) and the rest was justification for bad behavior.  I've had that with people and have even just simply asked, "Do I remind you of someone?" when I find an unexplained over-reaction in an encounter.  Mostly people can be really unaware of this human tendency. 

I like it best when there can be a human moment followed by a discussion/resolution which lets everyone own their stuff and hear the various perspectives and then ends in hugs and forgiveness.  It takes big people to do this.  From what I have seen, Paul's a big dude so I have high hopes.  Plus, I'm looking forward to a big bear hug.
Hunter gatherer people didn't have gym equipment and they seemed to do ok.  Of course, they didn't have potato chips either...
8 months ago
I am coming for the first section 10/6-8 but my husband is staying for the whole shebang.  I am seeking a ride to Denver area on the 9th.  If anyone is heading that way, would love to buy your gas in trade for a ride.


9 months ago
I seem to recall hearing of ashes being used to clean a cast iron skillet.  Anyone know anything on that?
11 months ago

Josephine Howland wrote:Could this replace the need for an electric pump?  Any mechanical types have ideas?

There is a book called the Human Powered Home you might want to reference.  The Amazon preview shows pages 34, 35 & 37 on this topic - maybe you can glean enough from that??  https://www.amazon.com/Human-Powered-Home-Choosing-Muscles-Motors/dp/0865716013/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491190194&sr=8-1&keywords=9780865716018
11 months ago